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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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phorescence was powerfully excited, being visible in a room which was by no means quite dark; and when the card was carried into a dark place, the phosphorescent light remained plainly visible for a good while. The experiment was then repeated with a fresh portion of the same phosphorus, the vessel this time containing water. The phosphorescence was produced as before, though not I think so copiously. But on taking a fresh portion of the phosphorus, and substituting for water a very dilute solution of sulphate of quinine, the influence of the spark was arrested, and the phosphorus was not rendered luminous. It was found that a solution containing only about one part of quinine in 10,000, with a depth of half an inch, was sufficient to prevent the generation of phosphorescence.
220. This result, it seems to me, would be sufficient, were proof wanting, to show that no part of the effect is attributable directly to the electrical disturbance. The effect produced when the phosphorus is at the distance of an inch or so from the points of the discharger seems exactly the same as when it is nearer, being merely somewhat weaker, as would naturally be expected, whatever view were taken of the nature of the* influence. But at the distance of an inch, the influence of the spark, though it passes freely through quartz and water, is cut off by adding to the water an excessively small quantity of sulphate of quinine. It cannot be supposed that the electrical relations of the. medium, or its permeability to electrical attractions and repulsions, are utterly changed by such an addition; while, on the other hand, the result/ is in perfect conformity with what we know respecting the stoppage of radiations by absorbing media,. However, the, principal object of the experiment was not to confirm the view which makes the influence of the spark to consist in the rays which emanate from it, a view which I suppose is pretty generally adopted, but to investigate more fully the nature of these rays. Enough has, I think, been adduced to show that they are merely rays which there is no reason to suppose are physically different from those of light, but quite the contrary, and which are of very high refrangibility, and are therefore invisible, since they fall far beyond the limits of refrangibility within which the retina is affected. Indeed, it seems very likely that the highly refrangible rays never reach the retina, but are absorbed by the coats of the